Tomato Seed Saving

Tomato SeedsTomato seed from open pollinated varieties can be saved for planting next year. Open pollinated plants are allowed to pollinate each other in the open garden. Because tomatoes are self-pollinating plants (meaning male and female flower parts exist in the same flower), open-pollinated tomatoes are generally predictable and consistent (more below on hybrids and heirlooms). Collect seed from any of these tomatoes for planting again next season.

Open-Pollinated Tomatoes:

1884. 78 days. Indeterminate; red beefsteak 16 ounces; excellent old-fashioned flavor; heirloom.

Abraham Lincoln. 80-90 days. Indeterminate; red globe shape; clusters of up to 9 fruits; meaty, smooth sweet flavor.

Ace 55. 80 days. Indeterminate; red globe shape to 7 ounces; low acid, tart flavor.

Aker’s West Virginia. 85 days. Indeterminate; red beefsteak to 1 pound; excellent flavor; West Virginia heirloom.

Amish Paste. 85 days. Indeterminate; red paste to 8 ounces; sweet flavor; Amish heirloom.

Amana Orange. 90 days. Indeterminate; orange beefsteak to 5 inches in diameter. Mild flavor. From Amana, Iowa.

Anna Russian. 70 days. Indeterminate; red oxheart to 1 pound; outstanding flavor; heirloom from Russia.

Arkansas Traveler. 85 days. Indeterminate; pink globe shape; mild flavor, juicy; heat and humidity tolerant; pre-1900.

Aunt Ginny’s Purple. 80 days. Indeterminate; black-purple beefsteak, 12 to 16 ounces; excellent flavor; German heirloom.

Aunt Ruby’s German Green. 80 days. Indeterminate; green beefsteak, from 12 to 16 ounces; sweet, spicy; heirloom.

Aussie. 85 days. Indeterminate; red beefsteak to 5 inches across; mild flavor, late maturity.

Azoychka. 60 days. Indeterminate; yellow globe to 3½ inches in diameter, slightly flattened. Russian heirloom.

Banana Legs. 75 days. Indeterminate; yellow paste; resembles a banana. Heirloom; also called South American Banana.

Bear Creek. Indeterminate; black-purple globe shape.

Beefsteak (Crimson Cushion). 90 days. Indeterminate; red beefsteak; meaty, juicy, rich flavor; for home gardens.

Big Rainbow. 90-100 days. Indeterminate; red-orange multicolor beefsteak, some to 2 pounds; will crack and catface.

Black Cherry. 65 days. Indeterminate; black-purple cherry; sweet, complex flavor.

Black Krim. 75 days. Indeterminate; red globe shape from 8 to 12 ounces; full flavor, slightly salty; from Russia.

Black Russian. 75 days. Indeterminate; black-purple globe shape; thrives in cool weather; heirloom.

Black Zebra. 85 days. Indeterminate; multi-color globe.

Blondkopfchen. 75-80 days. Indeterminate; yellow cherry borne in clusters of 20 to 30; each ½-inch in diameter; fruity flavor.

Bloody Butcher. 55 days. Indeterminate; red globe shape.

Bonny Best. 75 days. Indeterminate; red globe shape, from 6 to 8 ounces; meaty; widely adapted; introduced 1908.

Box Car Willie. 80 days. Indeterminate; red globe shape from 8 to 12 ounces; excellent flavor.

Brandywine. 90 days. Indeterminate; pink-red beefsteak, 8 to 16 ounces; matures late in northern regions; Amish heirloom, 1885.

Bull’s Heart. 87 days. Indeterminate; red oxheart to 4 inches long; old Russian heirloom; difficult to grow.

Burbank. 80 days. Determinate; red globe shape, 6 to 8 ounces; very productive, developed about 1915 by Luther Burbank.

Cherokee. 80 days. Determinate; large red globe shape, slightly flat to 7 ounces; firm, meaty; long harvest.

Cherokee Purple. 80 days. Indeterminate; black-purple globe shape, 10 to 12 ounces, flavorful; originally from the Cherokee people.

Chocolate Cherokee. 80 days. Indeterminate; black-purple globe shape.

Costoluto Fiorentino. 80 days. Indeterminate; red ribbed from6 to 8 ounces; good for canning.

Costoluto Genovese. 78 days. Indeterminate; red ribbed; delicious, slightly tart flavor; good in warm or cool weather; old Italian variety.

Crimson Cushion. 90 days. Indeterminate; large red ribbed, to 2 pounds; late season; old beefsteak variety.

Dad’s Mug. 90 days. Indeterminate; pink-red mug shape; thick, nearly solid center; very flavorful; stuffing tomato; heirloom

Dad’s Sunset. 75 days. Indeterminate; golden-orange round; meaty, tangy, each about 4 to 6 ounces.

Delicious. 77 days. Indeterminate; red globe shape, usually more than 1 pound; solid meaty, very good flavor.

Dinner Plate. 90-100 days. Indeterminate; red hear-shape for 24 to 30 ounce; delicious flavor; heirloom.

Dora. 80-85 days. Indeterminate; black-purple globe shape.

Druzba. 80-85 days. Indeterminate; red globe shape, 4 inches across; high acid; from Bulgaria.

Dorothy’s Green. 80 days. Indeterminate; green ribbed to 8 ounces; sweet and tart, spicy overtones; heirloom.

Dutchman. 80 days. Indeterminate; purple-pink scalloped, mild flavor, meaty with few seeds; from 1920 or earlier.

Dwarf Champion. 80 days. Tree; pink globe shape to 5 ounces; mild flavor; for small gardens; from 1980.

Earliana. 65 days. Indeterminate; red globe shape; clusters of 6 to 10 fruits to 5 ounces each; good in short-season regions; introduced in 1900.

Early Swedish. Indeterminate; red small round, from 3 to 4 ounces; excellent flavor; early variety.

Emerald Evergreen. 76 days. Indeterminate; green globe shape.

Garden Peach. 75-85 days. Indeterminate; yellow clusters; mild flavor; good keeper; heirloom.

German Giant. 77 days. Indeterminate; deep pink beefsteak, flattened globe; use for juicing or salads.

German Pink. 78 days. Indeterminate; pink beefsteak, 10 to 16 ounces; excellent, sweet flavor, meaty.

German Red Strawberry. 85 days. Indeterminate; red oxheart to 10 ounces; German heirloom.

Giant Belgium. 85 days. Indeterminate; large golden yellow, to 2 pounds; mild flavor, solid meat; mid-season harvest.

Giant Paste. 75 days. Indeterminate; elongated red paste, 6 to 10 ounces; good yield.

Golden Queen. 75 days. Indeterminate; golden globe shape; 8 to 12 ounce fruit; meaty, mild, sweet flavor, low acid; heirloom from 1882.

Goldie. 85-95 days. Indeterminate; golden beefsteak; large, slightly flattened globe, mild flavor; 160 year old heirloom.

Goliath. 85 days. Indeterminate; dark pink ribbed very large fruit to 3 pounds; from late 1800s.

Great White. 85 days. Indeterminate; white beefsteak from 14 to 16 ounces; low acid; ripens midseason; heirloom.

Green Bell Pepper. 76 days. Indeterminate; green pepper shape; use for stuffing.

Green Grape. 70 days. Determinate; yellow-green cherry in clusters of 4 to 12 fruits; resembles a Muscat grape.

Green Zebra. 78 days. Indeterminate; multi-color globe to 2½ inches in diameter; mild flavor; heirloom.

Hayslip. 75 days. Determinate; red globe shape with green shoulders to 6 ounces.

Hillbilly. 85 days. Indeterminate; yellow-orange bicolor to 2 pounds; heirloom from West Virginia via Ohio.

Hungarian Heart. 85 days. Indeterminate; red oxheart to 1 pound; from village near Budapest, to America in 1901.

Ida Gold. 59 days. Determinate; orange globe; small 2 to 3 ounces; mild, low-acid flavor.

Jubilee. 72 days. Indeterminate; golden yellow canning.

Liz Birt. 75 days. Indeterminate; red beefsteak.

Marglobe. 75 days. Determinate; red globe shape from 6 to 10 ounces; meaty.

Marmande. 65 days. Semi-determinate; red ribbed from 4 to 6 ounces; French heirloom.

Marvel Stripe. 85 days. Indeterminate; yellow-orange bicolor ribbed to 2 pounds; very sweet; from Oaxaca, Mexico.

Matchless. 85 days. Indeterminate; red flattened; high yield; introduced in 1894.

Matt’s Wild Cherry. 55 day. Indeterminate; red cherry; rich flavor, high sugar content.

Mister Stripey. 56 days. Indeterminate; multi-color beefsteak; low acid, mild flavor; English heirloom.

Moneymaker. 80 days. Indeterminate; red globe shape to 4 ounces; heavy yield; adapted to high humidity; old English greenhouse variety.

Mortgage Lifter (Radiator Charlie’s). 80-85 days. Indeterminate; red beefsteak, fruit to 4 pounds. Developed in West Virginia where a radiator repairman used the sales from this tomato to pay off his mortgage during the Great Depression.

Moskvich. 60 days. Indeterminate; red globe shape from 4 to 6 ounces; rich taste, smooth texture; from Eastern Siberia.

Mule Team. 80 days. Indeterminate; red glove shape from 8 to 12 ounces; sweet flavor with slight tang.

Nepal. 80 days. Indeterminate; red globe shape from 10 to 12 ounces; intense flavor; from the Himalayan Mountains.

New Big Dwarf. 90 days. Tree; pink beefsteak.

Orange Jubilee. 70-80 days. Indeterminate; orange paste.

Oregon Spring. 56 days. Determinate; red globe shape, to 4 pounds; very good flavor; for home gardens.

Oxheart. 80 days. Indeterminate; red oxheart, 7 ounce fruits; adapted to high humidity; introduced in 1925.

Pantano Romanesco. 80 days. Indeterminate; red scalloped.

Paul Robeson. 75 days. Indeterminate; black beefsteak; earthy flavor; Russian heirloom.

Peron. 68 days. Indeterminate; red globe shape about 10 ounces; introduce from Greece in 1951.

Persimmon. 80 days. Indeterminate; golden-orange ribbed; large, persimmon-colored; very flavorful; heirloom from 1800s.

Pineapple. 85 days. Indeterminate; red-yellow bicolor ribbed to 2 pounds; mild flavor.

Polish Linguisa. 73 days. Indeterminate; red sausage-shaped paste from 8 to 10 ounces; eat fresh or cook; heirloom from 1800s.

Ponderosa. 88 days. Indeterminate; large purple-pink flattened to 12 ounces and more, cluster of 3 to 5; late maturing; from 1891.

Ponderosa Pink. 80 days. Tree; pink beefsteak.

Porter’s Pride. 70 days. Indeterminate; red globe shape to 4 ounces; heavy yield in high temperatures and low humidity.

Principe Borghese. 75 days. Determinate; red plum-shaped paste, about 1 to 2 ounces; very meaty; use for sun drying.

Pruden’s Purple. 75 days. Indeterminate; dark pink globe shape to 1 pound; firm and meaty; widely adapted.

Red Brandywine. 100 days. Indeterminate; red beefsteak.

Red Cherry Large. 75 days. Indeterminate; red cherry to 1¼ inches in diameter; abundant clusters.

Red Currant. 70 days. Indeterminate; red cherry; sweet-tart flavor; heavy yield; from South America.

Red Pear. 78 days. Indeterminate; red miniature pear-shape to 2 inches in diameter; sweet flavor.

Reiner. 80-85 days. Determinate; red beefsteak.

Roma. 75 days. Determinate; red paste plant produces up to 200 tomatoes per plant; meaty.

Ruffled Yellow. 80 days. Semi-determinate; yellow pleated shape; excellent flavor.

Rutgers. 75 days. Determinate; red globe shape from 6 to 8 ounces; tomato flavor; developed in 1928.

San Marzano. 85 days. Indeterminate; red paste borne in clusters; solid, meaty.

Siberia. 50 days. Determinate; red globe shape to 7 ounces; 40 to 60 fruits per plant; does well in shade and containers; from Russia.

Sioux. 70 days. Indeterminate; red globe shape; solid, meaty, medium-sized; dependable in hot weather.

Snow White Cherry. 70 days. Indeterminate; white cherry; good taste for snacking.

Stone. 79 days. Indeterminate; red globe shape to 10 ounces; hold well; from late 1800s.

Striped German. 78 days. Indeterminate; yellow-red large ribbed to 2½ pounds; fruity flavor.

Stupice. 52 days. Indeterminate; red globe shape from 3 to 6 ounces; exceptional flavor; good yield; from Czechoslovakia.

Sundrop. 70-76 days. Indeterminate; small orange globe shape to 1¾ inches in diameter; meaty, sweet.

Super Italian Paste. 73 days. Indeterminate; red paste to 10 ounces; heirloom.

Sweetie. 70 days. Indeterminate; red cherry to 1½ inches in diameter; clusters of 15 to 20 fruits, good sugar content.

Tappy’s Finest. 77 days. Indeterminate; pink-red large flattened globe; meaty, flavorful; West Virginia heirloom.

Thessaloniki. 75 days. Indeterminate; large red globe shape from 6 to 8 ounces; old-fashioned acid tomato flavor.

Tigerella. 59 days. Indeterminate; multi-color globe to 2 inches in diameter; tangy tomato flavor.

Tiny Tim. 45 days. Bush; red cherry to 1½ inches in diameter; does very well in containers.

Ugly. 75 days. Indeterminate; red ribbed beefsteak from 12 to 16 ounces; old-fashioned flavor; early.

Valena Pink. 85 days. Indeterminate; pink beefsteak.

Valencia. 76 days. Indeterminate; orange fruit from 8 to 10 ounces; smooth, flavorful; Maine heirloom.

Variegated. 75 days. Indeterminate; red globe shape.

Violaceum Krypni-Rozo. 80 days. Indeterminate; pink scalloped, up to 2 pounds; sharp-sweet taste; French heirloom.

Watermelon Beefsteak. 75 days. Indeterminate; scalloped pink beefsteak to 1 pound or more; rich, sweet flavor.

White Wonder. 80 days. Indeterminate; white beefsteak; high sugar content.

Yellow Brandywine. 100 days. Indeterminate; yellow beefsteak, 3 to 4 inches in diameter, flattened; very good flavor.

Yellow Currant. 70 days. Indeterminate; yellow cherry to ½ inch in diameter.

Yellow Marble. 66 days. Indeterminate; yellow cherry marble sized; very sweet.

Yellow Pear. 78 days. Indeterminate; yellow miniature pear-shape to 2 inches long; very sweet; continuous harvest.

Zapotec Pink Ribbed. 80 days. Indeterminate; pink ribbed, bell pepper shaped; stuff or bake; from Oaxaca, Mexico.

(There are as many as 3,000 open pollinated tomato varieties. If I missed your favorite, send me an email and I will include it.)

Defining heirlooms and hybrids:

Heirloom vegetables. An heirloom vegetable is any open-pollinated variety that is at least 50 years old. Heirlooms have not been hybridized and so may not have the disease resistance of wide regional adaptability that hybrids usually have.

Hybrid seed. Hybrid seeds are created by crossing two plants–taking the pollen from one flower to fertilize a flower from a similar plant, resulting in a seed that has the specific characteristics of its selected parents. Hybrids are commonly inbred lines and the seed from a hybrid will not grow true to the specific genetic information bred into it.